John Simonian, or “Uncle John” as he is affectionately known to his friends, is a legend in the US watch industry. Bigger than life, always the sharpest man in the room in terms of style and insight, and a master raconteur, he could have easily been a successful character actor in Hollywood, where he lives and works. The founder of retail empire Westime, he has, for several decades, been the West Coast stalwart of high Swiss watchmaking, connecting the values of haute-de-gamme horology with the sports car and suntanned crowd of Malibu, and all up and down the western seaboard and beyond. Along the way, he’s opened monobrand boutiques in Las Vegas and now has his eyes set on Miami as the perfect venue to connect the South American and European tourist market with his brands, Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet and Hublot.
At the beginning of the new millennium, he took a gamble on an obscure new watch brand created by a maverick design genius, named Richard Mille. As Simonian recalls, the emotional climate in the United States was depressed following the tragic events of 9/11, and he was in no mood to meet a new brand. But he took the meeting with Mille, and when he met the man and set eyes on the watch — Richard’s original RM 001, the first timepiece to fully invoke references from the worlds of aviation and F1 racing, a machine born out of Mille’s fiery ambition to never compromise on performance — suddenly Simonian saw the path to his future. Today, he spends the majority of his time and valuable energy bringing the religion of Richard Mille to the audiences in the farthest reaches of the United States and the Caribbean, one by one converting hearts and minds to the seductive message of Mille, including individuals like Sylvester Stallone and Jay-Z. It was Revolution’s pleasure to raise a few beers with our favorite Uncle and learn from the wisdom he dispensed to us in the form of his signature cinemascope Technicolor tales.